Many countries have started administering COVID-19 vaccines for the priority groups, and soon this will be extended to the rest of the population. Many vaccine providers are dealing with a large number of people every day. As well as making sure everything goes smoothly, they also need to make sure that social distancing measures are still respected both for the safety of patients and healthcare workers. In this article, we’ll give you a few tips on efficient patient flow management for vaccination programs.
Smart appointment scheduling
A scheduling system allows you to plan your staffing and work at your full capacity, while cutting waiting times, and helps patients to keep a safe distance while waiting for their turn. Patients who schedule an appointment will get a booking confirmation and reminder.
There are many different factors which will need to be considered when dealing with scheduling appointments. It could be a patient’s first vaccination, or their second. If it’s their first round, then there needs to be a means to schedule their second within a certain time. There may be many different types of vaccines at the same center with different amounts of stock available – so the patient’s booking must conform with the availability of the correct type of vaccine.
Arrival and registration management: The key to efficient patient flow management
This is arguably the most important things when handling vaccinations. With hundreds or even thousands people that come for vaccinations per day, how do you make sure that social distancing is still practiced upon their arrival?
Here are a few tips on managing patient flow to make sure you manage patient flow efficiently for vaccination programs.
Clear information and updates
Where do they need to go, and what do they need to do once they’ve arrived at the vaccination center? Communicate everything clearly in advance if possible, to avoid confusion. This can be done by including the message in the booking confirmation and reminder for example, and then reinforced with clear signage on premise.
Manage registration efficiently with self-registration
The arrival point is the area where bottlenecks are likely to happen. A few minutes spent for each person to check in can accumulate and potentially create delays or crowding in your registration area. In the time when social distancing is required, this is not ideal. So if possible, provide a contactless, self-registration option for patients. For example, this could be done by
- Virtual check-in using a link (can be given in the booking confirmation and reminder)
- Scanning a QR code placed at the entrance or outside the building
Giving patients the option to self-register can speed up the process significantly, and reduce the burden on staff. With arrival solutions, staff can be notified when a patient checks in.
On the occasions where staff assistance is needed, you can also have a staff member assigned to help with the registration. With a staff app like Qmatic Connect Agent, they can quickly sign in patients and move them to the next touchpoint. Connect Agent also allows your staff to call customers, use their devices (mobile phones or tablets) as display to show which customer they’re calling, and provide insights on the current queuing status (for example, how many patients are waiting in line, and how long they have been waiting).
Managing queues with virtual solutions
Having a specific time slots for vaccinations helps vaccine providers to maintain a good patient flow. However, with limited space and a large number of people that come in a day to get vaccinated, it’s always good to reduce the number of people indoors when possible.
Having a Mobile Ticket or is one way of keeping the waiting area clear, as patients can wait remotely our outside the building until it’s their turn. With a Mobile Ticket, patients can monitor their place in the appointment order and get a notification when it’s their turn to go in.
Monitor live data to ensure a smooth patient flow
Having the ability to make decisions based on the current situation is important, and having data to rely on is not only helpful, but is in fact crucial. With business intelligence tools like OpsPanel, you can have an overview of the situation in the location and make a data-based decision when needed.
If you'd like to learn more about Patient Flow Management, download our comprehensive guide below.